Mega-Dams and Indigenous Human Rights
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Mega-Dams and Indigenous Human Rights

Itzchak Kornfeld

This original and insightful book explores and examines the impact that building mega-dams has on the human rights of those living in surrounding areas, and in particular those of indigenous peoples who are often most affected. Compiling case studies from around the world, Itzchak Kornfeld provides clear examples of how human rights violations are perpetrated and compounded, with chapters examining historical, recent and ongoing dam projects.
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Chapter 10: The Xayaburi Dam on the Mekong River

Itzchak Kornfeld


The Mekong flows for approximately 4,350 kilometers (2,700 miles) from its headwaters and is shared by six countries: Tibet/China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, were granted independence from France in 1954. Following positive diplomatic ties between Vietnam and the U.S. in 1995, all of these states, except for China, entered into the Agreement on the Cooperation for the Sustainable Development of the Mekong River. As part of that Agreement, the four states acknowledged that the Mekong River Basin and the related natural resources and environment are very important natural assets of immense value to each of them and their peoples. However, in 2010, the Lao and Thai governments commenced construction of the 1,285 megawatt Xayaburi Dam on the Mekong River, in violation of the treaty. The dam, expected to begin operating in 2020, will destroy the Mekong’s rich fisheries, cause the relocation of thousands of people, and destroy a thousand-year effort at self-sufficiency.

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